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EcoBuild Your Headquarters

January 1, 2008

Following the lead of NAR’s LEED-certified “green” building, more associations opt to build or remodel with energy- and earth-saving features

With its recent eco-friendly building project completed, the Tennessee Association of Realtors® is pleased to be doing its part for the environment. “From the ground up, it was designed and built to conserve natural resources,” says Steve Harding, EVP for TAR. “The interior is flooded with natural light, the geothermal heating and air conditioning system quietly goes about keeping us comfortable while using only 40 percent of the energy a typical heat-pump system would use.”

Rainwater from the roof and the concrete parking pads is channeled into biowells at the front and rear of the building and is filtered through the root system of native bog plants to remove impurities before finding its way into streams and rivers. The association also used recycled material for its carpets and bamboo for its hardwood flooring. “Our water turns off when the building alarm system is turned on and utilizes a low-wattage circulation pump on a loop during the day that provides instant warm water at hand sinks on all floors,” Harding says.

The Illinois Association of Realtors® is also proud of the green features of its new building, completed in June 2007. “Our building utilizes a TPO roof membrane for heat reflectance,” says Mary B. Schaefer, cae, the association’s communications director. “The exterior windows and glazing walls are partially reflective, solar shield, filmed glass panel to reduce solar heat by 32 percent. The building is equipped on all floors with energy sensors and occupancy sensors to control lighting in transient and low-occupancy spaces.”

Similarly, the new building for the Realtors® Association of York & Adams Counties’, Pa., completed in October 2007, boasts an array of green features. Some aspects of note are: geothermal HVAC system, waterless urinals, motion detector light switches, triple-pane energy-efficient windows, low-toxic paint, recycled-content carpeting, wood framing for walls and roof trusses, reflective roof material, and low lighting levels.

“We are located in a rapidly growing area of the Northeast and that means some people, unfortunately, associate Realtors® and developmental growth with destroying the environment,” says Steve Snell, York & Adams Counties’ executive officer. “[To counteract this perception] we’ve tried to make a statement that we are concerned about our community and our world by incorporating green attributes into our building.”

Not able to build a new building? Do what the Baldwin County Association of Realtors®, did—install blinds to keep down the heat and put in a zoned heating and air conditioning unit to prevent unnecessary heating or cooling.

Solar power generation, solar water heating, green roofs, graywater storage and recycling, permeable pavement, low-flow toilets, and waterless urinals are all features that associations can incorporate into their building to help save the planet and some cold, hard cash in energy costs, too.

NAR Awards Nearly $50K in Grants: Funding for association green and growth initiatives

The National Association of Realtors® has awarded $48,262 to 13 Realtor® associations helping to create livable communities. The grants help associations implement programs and activities that position Realtors® as leaders on issues ranging from green building and urban revitalization to smart growth and open-space preservation.

Individual grants of up to $5,000 are distributed twice per year; more than 92 grants totaling $264,000 have been provided through the Smart Growth Action Grants program.
“Realtors® build communities and care about improving them through smart growth initiatives,” says NAR President Dick Gaylord. “NAR’s smart growth grants help Realtors® and their local and state associations become more involved in creating livable communities that meet the changing demands of their clients and customers and result in more walkable, mixed-use communities with a wider range of housing options.”

The following 13 Realtor® associations were named Smart Growth Action Grant recipients:
Arcadia Association of Realtors®, Calif.: $5,000 to host a green building seminar and expo to help educate Realtors® about green building initiatives.

Biloxi Ocean Springs Association of Realtors®, Miss.: $1,500 to bring Realtors® from several cities together to develop a learning network about initiating smart growth activities in each community.

East Metro Association of Realtors®, Ore.: $5,000 to work with the city of Damascus to educate Realtors® about a new smart growth plan being developed for the area.

Fremont County Board of Realtors®, Wyo.: $5,000 to support efforts with the city of Riverton to create a citizen-based plan for developing a housing component of the city’s master plan.

Gulf Coast Association of Realtors®, Miss.: $3,000 to train Realtors®, appraisers, developers, and community leaders on the provisions of recently adopted SmartCode zoning plans of five Gulf Coast communities.

Hattiesburg Area Association of Realtors®, Miss.: $5,000 to support smart growth training for local planners, leaders, engineers, and government officials as well as a meeting to explore the role of economic development in communities and how it relates to smart growth.

Hernando County Association of Realtors®, Fla.: $1,642 to produce a series of workshops on affordable housing and the future community needs.

Jackson Association of Realtors®, Miss.: $3,500 to hold a meeting between Realtors®, developers, builders, and municipal leaders to discuss the role each plays in the creation of housing. The goal of the meeting is to increase Realtor® involvement in future decisions regarding housing developments and their locations.

Northeast Mississippi Board of Realtors®, Miss.: $3,000 to host a meeting for Realtors® to discuss urban flight and develop an action plan to revitalize the city’s downtown.
Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors®, Miss.: $3,000 to support a five-year smart growth training program for county planning commissioners.

Pearl River Board of Realtors®, Miss.: $3,500 to educate Realtors® about smart growth principles to influence more sustainable development projects.

Reading-Berks Association of Realtors®, Pa.: $5,000 to work with the Berks County Smart Growth Alliance to establish a smart growth municipal assistance program and facilitate adoption of smart growth principles.

San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors®, Calif.: $4,120 to host a one-day training for Realtors® and the public on green building and smart growth planning. The event will include a field trip to local infill housing sites.

For additional information on NAR Smart Growth Action Grants or to download an application, visit www.realtor.org/smartgrowth. Applications for the next round of grants are due October 3, 2008.

Contributing to Communities
Realtors® get muddy, plant trees, and protect the environment

The Realtors® Environmental Council of the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors® is a new organization, but it already has made a profound impact on its community.

The Realtors® Environmental Council (operating as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization) is the result of a two-year planning and research effort by dedicated Realtor® environmentalists. The group’s goal is to protect and enhance the quality of life in the Seattle area, promote responsible environmental stewardship by Realtors® and homeowners, and support projects and policies to preserve a healthy, natural habitat.

In the past year the council members not only have been vocal supporters of environmental protection in the area but also have backed their words with action. Last October, for example, nearly 50 members stepped out of their offices and into the mud and rain to plant nearly 1,000 trees and shrubs in the North Fork open space of the West Hylebos Wetlands (see photo above). The two-day planting and learning event began with a class on the benefits of owning a “green,” or environmentally friendly, home. They learned ways to save money and the environment so they could pass on point-of-sale information to their buyers and answer any questions those buyers may have about the kind of home they are purchasing.

The council’s upcoming “Emerging Urban Environments” course is the first in a series of educational offerings TREC will present on environmental and sustainability issues related to regulation, conservation, enhancement, and remediation that affect the utilization and development of real property.

Six Associations Honored for Outstanding Housing Efforts

The U.S. Conference of Mayors and NAR have recognized six new Ambassador Cities and their Realtor® associations for outstanding housing programs.

* Alexandria, Va., and the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® for workforce housing and foreclosure prevention

* Allentown, Pa., and the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors® for homeownership opportunities for public servants

* Asheville, N.C., and the Asheville Board of Realtors® for an affordable-housing task force

* Bowling Green, Ky., and the Realtors® Association of Southern Kentucky for responsible-credit efforts

* Irvine, Calif., and the Orange County Association of Realtors® for homeownership education of public officials

* Richmond, Va., and the Richmond Association of Realtors® for a task force on economically diverse neighborhoods.

“It’s a Great Time to Buy” Handout for Consumers
For Realtors® who are struggling to find the right words and data to convince consumers that now is a great time to buy, there’s the new NAR ‘‘It Is a Great Time to Buy” brochure. The handout provides information on the strength of the 2008 market, the 15-year high in seller inventory, nearly 40-year low in interest rates, benefits of homeownership, increase in FHA loan availability, and reasons why homeownership is a valued investment. It also includes many links and Web site resources to assist buyers in finding out more about what is happening in the market. The brochure, which sells for $29.95 for a pack of 100, can be ordered online at www.realtor.org/store.

Get Your REALTOR.com Toolkit for AEs
NAR and REALTOR.com recently announced new site improvements and listing features being implemented on the site to formally launch in August. Association staff attending the 2008 Leadership Summit in Chicago will receive a toolkit to help promote this valuable benefit to members. A limited supply will be available for those unable to attend. The toolkit will include a series of video tours highlighting the free member benefits, guided tours of features, such as the home value comparisons and reporting tools, and more. The kit will also include downloadable materials: sample full-page ads, FAQs and talking points, sample articles, and more. For information about the toolkit, call Rebecca Daly, 312/329-3285, or visit www.TourTheNewREALTOR.com.

Ask your Fellow AEs: “What non-dues revenue ideas has your association implemented and why?”
Seven years ago, our association developed a comprehensive sponsorship program where our affiliate-member vendor companies are given a wide variety of ways to sponsor any type of association event, program, or product. Our Commercial Real Estate Network has developed a similar but more modest program as well. Collectively, the two programs include 31 sponsors and will yield over $40,000 in revenue to the association in 2008.
—Daniel R. Sale, RCE, CAE, e-PRO, Capital Area Association of Realtors®, Md.

At this year’s Strategic Planning Session, our leadership discussed positioning ourselves to be the local government watchdog for real property rights and then marketing to property owners a special association membership class for, say, $25 per year. As a result, they would get e-mails alerting them to pending ordinances, etc., that might negatively or positively impact them. We would be able to use the NAR-provided grassroots Call to Action software to reach a new group in addition to our members. Obviously, it will take us some time to gear up for this possibility, but it is an exciting concept that others might find intriguing as well.
—Karan Flick, CEO, Fort Wayne Area Association of Realtors®, Ind.

We offer members an E-blast Pass Through: for $50, a member can buy the distribution of an e-mail to the membership on any new listing, reduction in price, incentives on the listing, or specials for Realtor® tour day. One picture is allowed and each message must include the price, MLS number, and contact information. We implemented this to help improve the communication on listings for Realtors® and to provide a source of non-dues revenue; we do not own our MLS.
—Jean Beck, EVP, Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors®, S.C.

Next month:
What are the pros/cons to an AE having a real estate license and taking continuing education? Submit your comments to
Kathy@raci.org.

National Honor for Retired AE Lindenau
The U.S. President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation has awarded Judith Lindenau, recently retired EVP of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors®, Mich., with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her work to develop a network of real estate association partners in the former Soviet state of Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Lindenau played an integral role in helping NAR’s International Real Property Foundation establish the Professional Association Management Companies in these areas to facilitate the creation of associations for real estate professionals overseas.

In 2003, President George W. Bush created the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to find ways to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in the United States and abroad. The President’s Volunteer Service Award program was launched as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

“I am honored, and totally surprised,” said Lindenau upon learning of her award. “When you believe in something as much as I believe in the work of IRPF, the real gift of volunteer effort is personal satisfaction. The hours I’ve spent working for IRPF have been an honor.”

For more on the IRPF, visit www.IRPF.org.

AEs Earn University Certificate
NAR offers AEs a professional development certificate opportunity through the University of Chicago focusing on core competencies in nonprofit management. For more visit, www.realtor.org/aesubs.nsf/pages/uofccertificate
Ron Stephan, RCE; Carol Van Gorp, RCE, CAE; David Bennett, CAE; Richard Barkett, Kevin Call, RCE; Ytonna Finnegan; Ron Lamee; Jonathan Salk.

What Leaders Are Made Of: NAR’s first Leadership Academy graduates aim to inspire
Last May, 26 Realtors® graduated from NAR’s new Leadership Academy. With their training, passion, and commitment, they pledged to make a difference in the industry through their local, state, and national associations.

The NAR Leadership Academy is a nine-month, five-stage training and development program for Realtors® who have leadership experience at the state and local level, but not yet at the national level. Each training session builds on developing institutional knowledge and leadership skills.

“The Leadership Academy was one of the most enjoyable and beneficial experiences of my life,” says Kemper Funkhouser, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Funkhouser Realtors in Harrisonburg, Va. “Twenty-six strangers met in Chicago last August and left Washington, D.C., in May as lifelong friends. We learned about the inner workings of NAR, met with leadership, and gained lasting memories.”

Although the participants of the academy were all chosen for their leadership skills and ambition, the class represented a wide range of personality types, ages, and experience.
“We weren’t all type A’s,” says Brooke Hunt, a Realtor® with Ebby Halliday Realtors® and the 2009 chair of the Texas Association of Realtors®. “It was a great group of people with different skill sets, and we learned how to adapt and work together.”

“I believe all participants grew immensely because of the diversity of the group, and I came to recognize the importance and benefits of diversity,” echoes Funkhouser.

One exercise Hunt found especially valuable was one in which every participant presented his or her favorite book on leadership. “Only two people chose the same book. It illustrates that there are different leadership models and styles, and no one approach is best,” she says.

Bob Turner, a Realtor® with Southern Properties in Cordova, Tenn., says the most significant thing he learned during the academy was how much NAR presidents are committed to serving members and “are willing to keep giving to the association to help mentor and advise potential new leaders of the innerworkings of NAR.” One day he hopes to honor their legacy by pursuing the office himself.

Hunt says her academy experience taught her how to identify and grow more leaders from local associations. “That’s our biggest charge that we should take out of the academy—to grow leaders and find our replacements because it’s the only way we’ll continue to grow as an organization,” she says.

“One of the most important things I learned through the Leadership Academy is that learning to be a leader never stops,” says Hunt.

For more, visit www.realtor.org/leadershipacademy. This fall, stay tuned to REALTOR.org for more on The Leadership LAB, a blog designed to provide an idea exchange and networking venue for members and potential members of the NAR Leadership Academy.

The Attainable RCE: AEs form local networks to study for certification
For many association executives and staff, the requirements for attaining the NAR certification for association executives, the Realtor® association Certified Executive (RCE), can be daunting. And that’s before the final, 120-question exam covering everything from budgeting to current trends in real estate. (Note: If you have your CAE designation, you only have to take a 50-question RCE exam.)

Yet, earning the RCE can be one of the biggest thrills in an association professional’s career, says Diane Ruggiero, rce, cae, CEO of the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors®.

“I want to help and encourage everyone on my team to achieve their highest potential, and I believe that earning the RCE is the way to do that,” says Ruggiero. “We do this together so we can support each other through the process both professionally and personally.”

Ruggiero has not only encouraged four of her staff members to earn their RCE but also worked with state executive officer Dennis McClelland to have the Missouri association cover the RCE Applicant Data Form (ADF) fee of $325 and the one-time RCE certification fee of $150 for every AE in the state to earn their RCE.

Support on a nationwide scale comes from Dale Smith, rce, cae, EVP, Western Wayne Oakland County Association of Realtors®, Mich. Smith launched an online study group for any AE in the country who wants to participate. Smith has been doing this for years and has helped dozens of AEs attain their RCE. For more info., contact Smith at dales@wwocar.com.

One of the main study tools for the RCE designation is the free Realtor® Association Management Self Study Course, which is also a popular staff-training tool. The Kansas City Regional Association has made the course mandatory for all staff within their first year, and the MetroTex Association in Dallas has offered any staff person who completes the course a $500 bonus. “The end result for our association is more professional staff that can offer more service and knowledge to our membership,” says Claire Shahzad, RCE, MetroTex’s Director of Realtor® Services.

Meet the New RCEs
These 15 Realtor® association executives earned their RCE (Realtor® association Certified Executive) designation after an extensive course of study and exam in April. For more on the RCE, visit REALTOR.org/RCE or contact Renee Holland at rholland@realtors.org.

Chip Ahlswede, rce, Arcadia Association of Realtors®, Calif.
Nancy Banker, rce, Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®, Fla.
Gary Clayton, rce, cae, Illinois Association of Realtors®
Mike Cotrill, rce, Greater Tulsa Assoc. of Realtors®, Okla.
Wayne Edwards, rce, cae, Illinois Assoc. of Realtors®
Shirley English, rce, cae, Marco Island Area Assoc. of Realtors®, Fla.
Rebecca Fletcher, rce, Atlanta Board of Realtors®
Anne Gardner, rce, cae, Northern Virginia Assoc. of Realtors®
Shelia Hargraves-Torres, rce, Lufkin Assoc. of Realtors®, Texas
Connie Legris, rce, Kankakee County Assoc. of Realtors®, Ill.
Peggy Missel, rce, Midwest City Del City Moore Association of Realtors®, Okla.
Monica Schulik, rce, Arizona Association of Realtors®
Edithann Buckles-Wadewitz, rce, Northeast Tennessee Assoc. of Realtors®
Rose Wanosik, rce, Tuscarawas County Board of Realtors®, Ohio
Laura Flournoy, rce, Eastern Shore Association of Realtors®, Va.